Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp sarcastically praised the Germany defence after they kept two clean sheets in their last two games.
Nationalmannschaft coach Joachim Low changed his starting formation and dropped Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels for Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng for the two recent World Cup qualifiers against Austria and Faroe Islands.
Germany then went on to record two 3-0 victories, meaning that, for the first time in over a year, they managed to keep a clean sheet for two consecutive matches.
The performances led the national media to express their delight about the new-look defence, and how the problems at the back were now a thing of the past.
Klopp, however, was quick to leap to the defence of the dropped Hummels.
“You [the press] have noticed a new stability in defence, against an opponent who did not challenge us in defence,” he said. “And Mats did not play there, but you wouldn’t have realised it anyway because the Austrians never got into that part of the pitch. And it was just like that in the second game.”
Klopp added with a hint of sarcasm: “The central defence worked really well against the Faroe Islands. I am delighted.”
The Dortmund boss went on to state that he is still “very pleased” that Hummels is a member of his squad, despite having been dropped at international level.
“Footballers are only humans after all. That might be news to you, but it is a fact. There are times in life when you find things no trouble and there are other times,” Klopp said. “The difference between a footballer and the average citizen is that he is not covered by media on a daily basis.”
Dortmund will entertain Hamburg on Saturday evening, before taking on Napoli in the Champions League on Wednesday.
“We have high hopes. We need to win all seven games. They are all important,” Klopp said ahead of the upcoming matches over the next three weeks.
Dortmund will be able to call on the majority of their squad for the Hamburg game.
Germany international Ilkay Gundogan is still sidelined with a back injury, however, while Poland captain Jakub Blaszczykowski is struggling with a minor knee injury.
Blaszczykowski could be rested and make way for Dortmund’s 21-year-old Jonas Hofmann, who on Friday put pen-to-paper on a new contract until 2018.